PHILADELPHIA - Although a small DeVonta Smith scare took center stage, the defense likely won the day again during Day 4 of Eagles camp, a session pushed to the evening as part of the NFL Network's league-wide coverage of training camp.
The Eagles' first-round pick injured his leg while reaching down to try to snare a low Jalen Hurts pass and ultimately left the practice field.
Any hand-wringing quickly dissipated when Smith was allowed to return to the field to watch the rest of the practice.
After practice, the team confirmed that the leg will be evaluated but the injury isn't believed to be serious.
SECOND SCARE AND REAGOR RETURN
Another brief scare enveloped receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside when he left the practice after being kicked in the groin. Arcega-Whiteside regained his composure and was seen after practice walking around in no discomfort.
The good news at the WR position was that both Jalen Reagor and (lower body tightness) and Quez Watkins (non-COVID illness) participated in team drills for the first time this summer.
Reagor is dealing with the death of a close friend and had failed his conditioning test so getting the 2020 first-round pick back in the mix was a big development for Nick Sirianni's struggling offense.
"We obviously want all our guys out there every single day," Sirianni said when asked about Reagor. "Jalen had to go through some things that I can't even imagine going through that he had to deal with, so I know that mentally, he has to get himself in a spot. So, I'm not concerned.
"He's been getting himself back ready to go these last couple days. He's got some tightness in his body, that's why we were holding him back. Again, any time – we just believe that in practice so much, that's where you improve as a player. So, any time a player misses, of course, we’re not going to want that but no concern because he's on track to be ready."
Reagor worked in the slot with the first team at times.
In one-on-one drills between the receivers in DBs, Reagor had one of the highlights when he generated impressive separation on the Eagles' best cover corner, Darius Slay.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
On offense, Zach Ertz showed off his brilliant route-running skills with a double move that caught second-year safety Elijah Riley off guard. The veteran tight end, who again was wearing his Eagles shorts inside out for those keeping score, used an out-and-up move to leave Riley in the dust and Jalen Hurts was able to deliver with the throw for what turned out to be a long gain.
Inconsistency has been a hallmark for Hurts at practice, though, and he was also a part of the biggest play for the defense.
T.J. Edwards dropped into coverage in a seven-on-seven drill and made a diving interception on a throw in which Hurts didn't seem to see the third-year linebacker.
“First one in camp so it felt good,” said Edwards. “Anytime you get your hands on the ball it’s a good thing. Just going to try to keep doing that and learn the defense and just keep stacking the days.”
Cornerback was among the biggest concerns of the team in the spring and all of a sudden, the late signing of Steve Nelson has created a domino effect by providing a competent option opposite Darius Slay and allowing Avone Maddox to play in the slot.
Now you can add Craig James into the mix when it comes to depth. Best known for his PBU of Aaron Rodgers to upset the Green Bay Packers in 2019, James struggled with soft tissue injuries last season.
When healthy he's one of the better punt gunners in the league and has always been a player who excels in coverage during his limited opportunities. Right now, he looks like the fourth CB.
MAILATA vs. DILLARD
Jordan Mailata was back with the first team as he and Andre Dillard continue to rotate days. In one-on-ones, Mailata was certainly the winner, getting the best of camp star Josh Sweat and also rookie Tarron Jackson.
Dillard continued to struggle with Derek Barnett, although he did bounce back a bit when the two matched up for a second time.
Jake Elliott talked about getting his consistency back earlier in the week but in his first large-scale opportunity in public, there were some hiccups as the veteran kicker missed from 33 and 49.
Overall, Elliott finished 4-for-6 and made kicks from 38, 40, 43, and 44.
"Jake is still a very, very good kicker in this league and just being around him, he's got a live leg," special teams coordinator Michael Clay said earlier in the week. "He's able to hit a lot of plus-50 balls, but we're really consistently hitting the 49 and under is where we want to make our money at."
PRACTICE GAME BALL
Let's give it to James for his consistency. Ertz had a drop to go along with his big play otherwise the veteran TE might have been the winner.
John McMullen contributes Eagles coverage for SI.com's EagleMaven and is the NFL Insider for JAKIB Media. You can listen to John, alongside legendary sports-talk host Jody McDonald every morning from 8-10 on ‘Birds 365,” streaming live on both PhillyVoice.com and YouTube. John is also the host of his own show "Extending the Play" on AM1490 in South Jersey. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @JFMcMullen
Ed Kracz is the publisher of SI.com’s Eagle Maven and co-host of the Eagles Unfiltered Podcast. Check out the latest Eagles news at www.SI.com/NFL/Eagles and please follow him on Twitter: @kracze.